Booking it

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry
By BARBARA HOFFERT  |  March 11, 2010

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BACK ON SHORE: Life of Pi author Yann Martel returns with Beatrice and Virgil, a novel about coming to terms with the Holocaust.

Spring fiction goes international, starting with a whiff of the Caribbean. In ISABEL ALLENDE's Island Beneath the Sea (Harper, April 27), teenage Tété forms a bond with her young master in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). And a Jamaican slave tells her life story in Whitbread/Orange honoree ANDREA LEVY's The Long Song (Farrar, May 4).

In Beatrice and Virgil (Spiegel & Grau, April 13), Life of Pi's YANN MARTEL considers how to address the Holocaust in fiction. In The Line (Putnam, April 1), by OLGA GRUSHIN, author of the award-winning The Dream Life of Sukhanov, Soviet-era Muscovites queue up for a year to buy elusive concert tickets. The late STIEG LARSSON's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Knopf, May 27) wraps up a trilogy of internationally bestselling literary thrillers.

And here come the British. IAN MCEWAN's Solar (Doubleday, March 30) stars a Nobel Prize–winning physicist in trouble for his views on gender differences. JIM CRACE's All That Follows (Doubleday, April 20) features a jazz musician who helps with a hostage crisis. In MARTIN AMIS's The Pregnant Widow (Knopf, May 14), a British student in 1970s Italy is rocked by social change.

Back home, An American Type (Norton, June 7), rescued from papers left by HENRY ROTH, author of the classic Call It Sleep, gives us Roth alter ego Ira in love. In JANE SMILEY's Private Life (Knopf, May 7), a wife contends with her work-obsessed scientist husband in early-1900s America.

Two-time Booker winner PETER CAREY reimagines Alexis de Tocqueville in Parrot and Olivier in America (Knopf, April 23). In Walks with Men (Scribner, June 8), ANNE BEATTIE brings Harvard valedictorian Jane to 1980s New York. And in Anthill (Norton, April 5), the first novel by renowned Harvard biologist E.O. WILSON, a lawyer battles to preserve the forest he frequented as an ant-loving Alabama boy.

Spring non-fiction includes HAMPTON SIDES's Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin (Doubleday, April 27). Bloomberg columnist ROGER LOWENSTEIN chronicles The End of Wall Street (Penguin Press, April 6). Former IMF chief economist SIMON JOHNSON and JAMES KWAK, co-author with Johnson of the Baseline Scenario blog, decry the financial industry's hold on government in 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (Pantheon, March 30). Newsweek senior editor JONATHAN ALTER considers The Promise:President Obama, Year One (Simon & Schuster, May 18); New Yorker editor DAVID REMNICK delivers Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama (Knopf, April 6), a biography that also looks at "the complex saga of race in America that led to his historic election."

ALBERT-LÁSZLÓ BARABÁSI, the director of Northeastern's Center for Complex Network Research, reveals our not-so-random behavior in Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do (Dutton, April 29). And NICHOLAS CARR — famed for an Atlantic cover story that asked, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" — responds in The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (Norton, June 7).

From the shower of gems that'll descend during National Poetry Month, you might catch The Diamond Dog (Anhinga, April 1), DIANE WAKOSKI's striking 19th collection. Other major collections include DEREK WALCOTT's White Egrets (Farrar, April 1), C.K. WILLIAMS's Wait (Farrar, May 4), and MAXINE KUMIN's Where I Live: New and Selected Poems1990–2010 (Norton, April 12). And don't miss founding Beat poet MICHAEL MCCLURE's Mysteriosos and Other Poems (New Directions, April 28), or up-and-comer BEN LERNER's Mean Free Path (Copper Canyon, May 1).

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